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Friday, April 21, 2017

Silversea flagship, Silver Muse, christened in Monaco

Silver Muse christened by Silversea Chairman Manfredi Lefebvre d'Ovidio's daughter, Costanza Lefebvre, in Monaco

The ninth ship in the Silversea fleet offers the highest expression of excellence at sea

Ultra-luxury cruise line, Silversea, welcomed VIPs and other distinguished guests to Port Hercule in the heart of Monaco yesterday, including: His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco; His Excellency Minister of State of the Principality, Serge Telle; His Excellency Archbishop of Monaco Barsi; Mr. Peter Greenberg (CBS-TV Anchor and News Travel Editor, Master of  Ceremony); Mr. Geoffrey Kent (Abercrombie & Kent Founder) and Mr. Gerald Lawless (Chairman of WTCC), for an intimate ceremony marking the christening of the latest addition to the fleet, Silver Muse. 

The historic celebration, hosted by Silversea Chairman Manfredi Lefebvre d'Ovidio, was honoured with incredible performances by the Sinfonietta Orchestra of Rome and renowned violinist Charlie Siem, both of whom enriched the ceremony with sublimely moving musical renditions.

Silver Muse, the ninth ship in the Silversea fleet, caters to the most discerning passengers at sea, offering the highest expression of elegance and comfort while aiming to redefine the ultra-luxury cruising experience.

Over the past two weeks, guests from around the world were invited to preview the new flagship on a number of exclusive voyages in the Mediterranean. Initial feedback from media, as well as trade and industry representatives has been overwhelmingly positive, with the quality of the finished Fincantieri vessel and Silversea's level of service by the Silver Muse crew exceeding guests' expectations.  

Accommodating 596 passengers, the ship boasts an unrivalled selection of dining options on board, including three restaurants new to the Silversea fleet: Atlantide, a seafood and grill concept representing the ultimate in culinary excellence and creativity by using the finest ingredients sourced from around the world; the Asian-accented Indochine; and an Italian-themed poolside restaurant, Spaccanapoli, which serves homemade Italian pizzas throughout the day. With the addition of these new culinary venues, Silver Muse guests have a choice of eight onboard restaurants and the freedom to dine on "anything, anywhere, at any time" on the ship.

Silver Muse is also home to the unique Zàgara Beauty Spa, which offers a relaxing sanctuary while transporting guests on a journey of the five senses tailored to their individual needs and preferences.

Monaco is not merely the base of Silversea's operations, it is also the home of the company's proud Monegasque history. Silversea shares the culture, traditions and values of the Principality with the world, with its nine ships visiting more than 900 different ports of call each year.

Attending the christening ceremony, H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco said: "On behalf of the Principality of Monaco, I would like to extend a warm welcome to Silver Muse, its crew and passengers. She represents the next generation of cruise ships with respect to both fuel efficiency and energy saving technology. We share with Silversea common values and principles surrounding responsible environmental practices, and the development of sustainable business activities. The preservation of the oceans is a crucial priority for future generations."

Manfredi Lefebvre d'Ovidio, Silversea Chairman, said: "The close ties between Silversea and the Principality of Monaco reflect not only our commitment to this beautiful region but also to the history and values to which we adhere. Silversea is an Italian, family-owned business, yet our heart will always be shared with the Principality as we continue to move forward. As the home of Silversea, Monaco was always the natural choice for the christening of our new flagship, Silver Muse, and it is with great pleasure that we can share this milestone with both the residents and guests of the Principality."

Roberto Martinoli, CEO of Silversea Cruises, added: "Silversea is associated with exceptional quality and voyages that leave long-lasting memories of discovery and wonder. As we continue to invest in our entire fleet, Silver Muse offers guests a taste of what is to come. Silver Muse represents an evolution of the Silversea hallmarks that set the company apart from the competition. With eight dining options, offering 28 varieties of culinary delights, Silver Muse has redefined the art of gastronomy at sea. With more open-air spaces and state-of-the-art facilities on board, we are positive that both new and returning guests will enjoy unforgettable memories."

For more information contact your travel professional or Silversea Cruises on +61 2 9255 0600 or 1300 306 872 (Australia) or 0800 701 427 (New Zealand), or visit

Thursday, April 20, 2017

My Pet Dinosaur in the Blue Mountains

Cinematic Pet Dinosaurs come alive in the Blue Mountains Jurassic landscape with cutting edge local film industry  

Blockbuster film director, Matt Drummond, has championed the Blue Mountains as an emerging world-class film and television production hub, following the production of his latest movie, My Pet Dinosaur.

Drummond said the Blue Mountains had remarkable landscapes, talented crews, actors and industry expertise; along with a supportive regional body, the Blue Mountains Economic Enterprise.

"There is a unique breadth and depth of talent, experience and world-class expertise in the Blue Mountains. Not only do we have leading technicians and crew living here, it seems to be home to some of Australia's leading actors," he said.

"The Blue Mountains is well placed to become a world-class film and television production hub. Filming and producing My Pet Dinosaur in and around the Blue Mountains was ideal. BMEE's Creative Industries Cluster under the MTNS MADE campaign provided us with invaluable collaboration and support across many aspects of the filmmaking process. MTNS MADE enabled access to resources, which ensured the production of My Pet Dinosaur remained a Blue Mountains region production."

My Pet Dinosaur, to be released internationally on April 22, 2017, was filmed at Blue Mountains locations, including Wentworth Falls Lake, The Old Bank Brasserie in Katoomba, Mt Wilson; and around Lithgow and surrounding regions.

My Pet Dinosaur looks set to out-perform Drummond's previous film, Dinosaur Island which was released in over 50 international markets. 'My Pet Dinosaur' is being billed as 'ET meets Pixar' and takes place in a town where a military experiment is uncovered when a young boy finds a tiny dinosaur. As the dinosaur grows, so too does the pursuit by government forces desperate to keep its existence a secret.

Drummond, has an impressive pedigree having worked with Discovery Channel USA, National Geographic USA, History Channel USA and several other international networks. He has received 3 Emmy Nominations, securing a win in 2014, and 1 AFI Nomination.  Through global interviews in the lead up to the movie's release, Matt is telling the world about the Blue Mountains as a film hub.

Drummond's comments follow the release of a report that shows the Blue Mountains' reputation as a creative industries hot spot is on the rise, with a report showing the emergence of a multi-million dollar industry. The independent report by economic analysis firm, Remplan found the Blue Mountains Economic Enterprise's (BMEE) Creative Industries Cluster has contributed over $13.5m to the local economy over the last 12 months by facilitating film production in the Blue Mountains.

Four local film productions were profiled by Remplan, including My Pet Dinosaur, and their local expenditure was analysed and found these films had generated an overall economic impact of $13.592m over 12 months.

BMEE CEO, Jacqueline Brinkman said, "the case study also shows that 40 local jobs were created as a result of these films. Each of the film producers acknowledge the role that BMEE and the Creative Industries Cluster played in keeping the production in the Blue Mountains."

The Creative Industries Cluster was developed by BMEE with funding from Blue Mountains City Council in 2013 when economic research showed that Creative Industries was the third greatest contributor to the Blue Mountains Gross Regional Product and generated 8% of local jobs. Since then, BMEE has established MTNS MADE, a brand and a campaign which serves as a collaborative platform for promoting the region and its creative excellence.

Mayor, Cr Mark Greenhill said the results are highly impressive and show that BMEE's cluster based approach to industry development in the Creative Industries is growing the economy and generating local jobs.

"When Council first set up BMEE, the Board recognised that the Creative Industries represented an opportunity for the Blue Mountains to diversify the local economy. In collaboration with the local industry, the BMEE team implemented a number of innovative and proactive strategies and with this report, we are starting to see the fruits of that labour," Cr Greenhill said.

The Blue Mountains is a popular choice for a range of commercial and network filming activities, overseen by Council and NPWS,that further contribute to the regional economy.

Mayfield Garden Oberon relaunch with major outdoor concert

Big Australian bands cultivate new entertainment program at Australia's biggest private open garden, Mayfield

The majestic Mayfield garden at Oberon will become a seductive backdrop to a major outdoor Autumnfest concert featuring James Reyne on 30 April 2017 as the gates open to the public every day of the year for the first time.

Reyne will perform within the 64-hectare European-inspired garden alongside Boom Crash Opera, Matt Boylan Smith and Smith & Jones, as the finale to the music, wine, food & craft beer festival, on now.

The celebration of the flamboyant autumnal colours at Mayfield is part of a dynamic annual entertainment program just released and includes luxe food events, yoga retreats (5-7 May), glamorous public gatherings, foraging, corporate retreats, weddings, major outdoor performances, and food and garden workshops.

The performances will take place in front of the spectacular Obelisk and Pond, and visitors can enjoy the concert from within the Alle of London Plain Trees with a hand selected range of the finest local food and beverage from the Central West. Floating food options include Smoking Brothers catering, Al Dente street food from Bathurst, the Moubar Vintage 1950s bar and coffee caravan, Tommy's Mexican food, and Two Heads Brewery.

Mayfield CEO Hamish Keith, formerly an internationally and nationally award-winning event producer, has designed a diverse catalogue of activities taking the family-owned property from a garden to marvel, to a new level of visitor experiences.

"Mayfield is an incredibly versatile venue with the gardens as the backdrop for events including specialist themed workshops in foraging, cooking, art and yoga; corporate retreats, private parties, and elegant public celebrations," Hamish said.

Access to the private residential garden is available during Mayfield's seasonal celebrations. Every other day, the public can explore the magnificently curated garden's visitor experiences and horticultural stories.

You can row across lakes and marvel at an 80-metre cascade, stroll through the stunning 6-acre Water Garden and the Grotto; there's a dedicated English rose garden, palatial chook houses, a Walled Kitchen Garden and a Garden Centre.

Mayfield is also a food experience with its café and produce store with 80% of its produce sourced from the grounds, and the remaining 20% from the Oberon region.

Tickets to the James Reyne concert cost $85 per adult and $35 per child (includes garden entry).

For return bus transfer packages from Oberon, Bathurst, Orange, Lithgow and Katoomba visit:


530 Mayfield Road Oberon, NSW 2787

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Australia's new hotel brand

Australia's new hotel brand, TRIBE Hotel Group (TRIBE), is focused on giving guests everything they need and nothing they don't, in a space that is intelligent and sophisticated with high-end design.

Instead of being something to everyone, TRIBE has been created for tech savvy design lovers and urban explorers, who are meticulous when it comes to where they stay and prudent about what they pay. The result is a hotel that is as stylish as it smart.

Its first location, TRIBE Perth is a nine-storey 126-room hotel in West Perth - next to Kings Park - that will launch on Tuesday, 16 May 2017, with interiors by award-winning architect and interior designer Travis Walton; architecture by Idle Architecture Studio; and brand campaigns shot by Nicole Bentley.

TRIBE Perth has highly functional rooms and shared spaces that are luxurious and contemporary, with cutting edge technology, entertainment and office facilities as standard. Gone are out-dated and unwanted services, inefficient check-in and checkouts, overpriced mini bars and restaurants and room service.

Its luxurious and contemporary living areas – styled by Walton in collaboration with celebrated art director Marsha Golemac – are part collaborative workspace, part social club featuring break out spaces, lounges, an outdoor courtyard and TRIBE Foods. Design details include: lighting by Tom Dixon, Moroso feature chairs, Jean-Paul Gaultier cushions, Febrik upholstered sofas, and an impressively curated collection of work by Australian contemporary artists.

Walton has cleverly crafted the rooms to complement the unique and innovative living areas, all complete with free Wi-Fi, signature queen beds with a custom designed bed base to allow for 'out of the way storage', floor-to-ceiling windows and blackout blinds, and amenities including Nespresso pods and T2. Bathrooms feature rain showers and Kevin Murphy shower products.

With modern travellers in mind, rooms include smart TVs, Bluetooth digital radios and alarm clocks, a digital reading collection, and free movies on demand, while the common areas offer printing via smartphone streaming, guest iMacs and plug and play GPO and USB outlets throughout.

TRIBE Foods - a café by day and bar by night – will feature menus created by Tobie Puttock (River Café, Fifteen Restaurant) that will have a focus on sustainability, seasonality and ethical eating. Always fully stocked with refreshments and foods to fuel the body, guests can choose what works for them - eat together or alone; gorge or 'grab and go' the express way.

As Australia's first integrated modular design hotel, TRIBE sets itself apart from traditional accommodation by using a contemporary modular design and construction method comprising pre-fabricated guest rooms with sophisticated essentials for the modern traveller.

TRIBE founder Mark Peters is a pioneer in modular construction and a specialist hotel developer. His vision was to create an entirely new category of design hotels in Australia, with the view to expand globally.

“The contemporary traveller no longer checks into a hotel, they check in to a destination, that's why when we created TRIBE we re-evaluated the hotel model to prioritise the benefits they would want.

“We've focused on what matters so that we don't pass on costs to our guests for the things that don't, by paring back and refining our offering and using cost effective and smart modular construction we're able to share significant savings with our guests, making TRIBE an aspirational space at an accessible price,” says Peters.

Expansion plans are already well underway with new TRIBE hotel sites acquired in Adelaide, Hobart and Melbourne, and intentions to expand internationally over the next 10 years.

Created with an international cast of business travellers and urban explorers in mind, TRIBE is set to be a hotly anticipated new offering in the Australian hotel landscape.

Rooms start from $199 per night*.


Traveloscopy | 

Anzac Day in France

If you are coming to France and visiting Paris around Anzac Day (April 25th), then you should visit an area close to Paris that is drenched in Australian history. The Somme is where many Australian soldiers fought, and where one of the most stunning victories of World War 1 took place.

The small town of Villers-Bretonneux, just outside Amiens, is the obvious place to head for if you are a WW1 history buff. It spectacularly recalls the Australian input into the battles at the Somme.

Experts from leading French tour company Paris On The Way have put together a list of the top 5 places that World War 1 enthusiasts should visit:

1) The Australian National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux is the main memorial to Australian soldiers killed on the Western Front. Consisting of a tower listing the missing dead - almost 11,000 names, it commemorates the Second Battle of Villers-Bretonneux (24-27 April 1918).

2) The Franco-Australian Museum at Villers- Bretonneux tells the story of the Australian Imperial Force during World War 1 and offers an insight into the Australian story there.

3) Well-known both at home and abroad is the story of the ‘unknown soldier.’ The Adelaide Cemetery in Villers-Bretonneux contains his empty grave with the following inscription:

“The remains of an unknown Australian soldier lay in this grave for 75 years. On November 2, 1993, they were exhumed and now rest in the tomb of the Unknown Solider at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.”

4) The ‘Avenue des Australiens’ – is where you can visit a monument dedicated to the memory of the 2nd Australian Division. Remarkable for its many plaques, there is also a statue of an Australian soldier standing guard.

5) The Battle of the Fromelles Museum – takes visitors on a journey from ‘shadow to light’, exploring the disaster of the Battle of Fromelles and the recovery almost 100 years later of 250 soldiers that died at this battle in July 2016. Here you can see World War 1 artefacts such as uniforms and weapons as well as recreations of both German and Allied trenches using materials recovered from the original battleground.

These are just a few of the sights that Australians can visit. Paris on the way delivers a range of guided tours for those wishing to visit pertinent war sites around Paris.

Not your typical tour guide company, Paris On The Way is fully endorsed by the French Ministry for Culture, and delivers tours that are heart-felt, memorable and bespoke…combining French savoir faire with true joie de vivre.

Take a look at the full range of tours -

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Nationwide Songkran celebrations kick off in Bangkok

Bangkok – The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) kicked off this year’s Songkran celebrations with an Amazing Songkran Joyful Procession on 8 April in central Bangkok. The event, presided over by H.E. General Tanasak Patimapragorn, Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand, marked the opening of the Amazing Songkran Experience Festival 2017, which is taking place in Bangkok’s Benjasiri Park from 8-13 April, and will give everyone a taste of the Thai New Year in the different regions of Thailand.
Nationwide Songkran celebrations kick off with colourful Bangkok extravaganza
H.E. General Tanasak Patimapragorn (centre) is joined by Miss Pranee Sattayaprakob, Deputy Permanent Secretary of BMA (left), H.E. Mrs Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul Minister of Tourism and Sports (2nd left), Mr. Kalin Sarasin, Chairman of TAT Board of Directors (right) and TAT Governor Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn (2nd right), at the opening of the Amazing Songkran Joyful Procession

H.E. General Tanasak Patimapragorn said, “The Amazing Songkran Festival Experience 2017 allows both Thais and international visitors to enjoy a deep appreciation of Songkran in Thailand and understand how it differs from region to region while uniting Thais in a spirit of respect and fun.”
After an opening ceremony which evoked Songkran traditions, the Amazing Songkran Joyful Procession took place on 8 April from 17.30 to 20.30 Hrs. and took a route down Sukhumvit Road, from the Phrom Phong Junction to Pathum Wan Intersection. The colourful procession, which opened the national Songkran celebrations was made up of six parts: 1) Amazing Blossom of Siam; 2) Songkran Goddess, Krini Devi who represented Songkran 2017; 3) Myths and traditions of Songkran told via floats, flowers and dances from the five regions of Thailand; 4) Green Songkran, represented by eco-friendly cars and the Earth of Green Songkran Show; 5) Songkran traditions of Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar; 6) The final parade will showcase classic and distinctive vehicles including rickshaws and tuk-tuks from many parts of Thailand.

Nationwide Songkran celebrations kick off with colourful Bangkok extravaganza
The Amazing Songkran Joyful Procession showcased tradition, dances and colour from all the main regions of Thailand.

The grand processions kicked off the five-day Amazing Songkran Festival Experience 2017 which will see the Sukhumvit side of Benjasiri Park divided into Four Zones until 13 April.
Zone 1 is where visitors can pay respect to the Buddha image, experience the ancient traditions of Songkran and learn how to make scented water and flowers displays in fun workshops.
Zone 2 showcases Songkran traditions in five regions, including Pee Mai Muang in the North; Boon Duen Ha in the Northeast, the ethnic Mon-style Songkran in the Central Region, and the Sri Maharaja Songkran from the East, as well as local costumes and the fishing culture from the South.
Zone 3 is where Songkran related snacks and desserts from all regions of Thailand can be sampled, including Khao Chae – a dish of steamed rice in jasmine-scented iced water served with savoury accompaniments.
Zone 4 is the event’s main stage which features shows and entertainment, including Thai Blind Boxing and a Miss Amazing Songkran International Beauty Contest.

Nationwide Songkran celebrations kick off with colourful Bangkok extravaganza  
In the Amazing Songkran Festival Experience 2017, visitors can learn about the traditions of Songkran and understand how they differ across Thailand.

Mr. Patimapragorn concluded, “We hope that after having enjoyed a glimpse of how Songkran is celebrated distinctively in different parts of Thailand, Thais and international visitors will be inspired to head upcountry to enjoy Songkran in a traditional setting.”
During the 2017 Songkran Festival, it is estimated that the number of international tourists traveling to Thailand to join the fun will rise 10 per cent to over 470,000. This will generate revenue of 8.05 million Baht, an increase of 17 per cent over the same New Year period last year.
The Amazing Songkran Festival Experience 2017 takes place until 13 April from 16.00 to 20.00 hrs. and from noon onwards on 13 April 2017.

MTA: Erosion of travel agents at the expense of OTAs a "furphy"

Merricks: "OTAs promoting themselves as online
versions of traditional travel agents a "misnomer'"

Mobile Travel Agents' (MTA) co-managing director, Roy Merricks has labelled comments inferring travel agents and travel advisors' positions are being eroded at the expense of Online Travel Agents (OTAs) as, in his opinion, a "furphy".

Speaking from the company's national Head Office on the Gold Coast, Mr Merricks has queried whether OTAs such as Webjet and similar organisations should even be considered as de facto travel agents or travel advisers.

"Any OTA promoting itself as a travel agent or travel advisor could be construed as "potentially misleading," Mr Merricks said.

"OTAs don't deliver the products or complete services provided by a credentialed national agency, such as MTA, with true connections and support for clients on the ground globally."

Mr Merricks said that while originally, OTAs had specialised in either flights or hotel reservations, over the years they have generally added to that base to include other land content designed to broaden their appeal.

"The misnomer is they are effectively promoting themselves as an online version of a traditional travel agent - without a shop - and therefore suggesting they are more readily available," he said.

"Nothing is further from the truth and it is, in my opinion, potentially misleading when OTAs promote themselves as a travel agent or travel advisor in the sense of the words understood by consumers.

"At the end of the day the travel distribution system, travel agents and travel advisors are alive and growing well.

"OTA's should perhaps be more aptly described as Online Travel Algorithms - let's see them for what they really are."



Monday, April 10, 2017

Virtuoso's Hottest New Hotels for 2017

Jetsetters wondering where to go next, look no further! Leading luxury and experiential travel network Virtuoso, along with its more than 770 travel agency partners worldwide, has identified the hottest hotel openings around the globe for this winter season and beyond.

Andaz Mayakoba Resort Riviera Maya, Mexico
Andaz Mayakoba Resort Riviera Maya opened its 214-room property on December 12, 2016. Bordering a crystalline lagoon and mangroves, the resort features an open layout flooded with sunlight and décor inspired by nature. Guests can explore the nearby ruins of Tulum, enjoy the natural swimming holes and access the 18-hole El Camaleón golf course designed by renowned architect and PGA legend Greg Norman. Virtuoso guests receive an upgrade on arrival if available, daily breakfast for two, a $120 credit to use towards a professional photo shoot or within the resort, plus a farewell gift.

Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills, California
The Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills will open in April 2017 on the corner of Wilshire and Santa Monica Boulevards. Each of the 170 rooms will have unobstructed views of the city. Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten will oversee the hotel's restaurant and the property will also offer a 5,000-square-foot spa and rooftop pool, the largest of its kind in Beverly Hills. Virtuoso guests will enjoy an upgrade at booking if available, American breakfast for two daily, a private one-way airport transfer, complimentary Wi-Fi and early check in and late check-out if available.

The Bangkok EDITION, Thailand
The Bangkok EDITION, a collaboration between Marriott International and renowned hotelier Ian Schrager, will open in June 2017. The 155-room property will be housed in the tallest building in Thailand, MahaNakhon Tower, overlooking Bangkok's skyline. Virtuoso guests will receive an upgrade at booking if available, breakfast for two daily, a $100 food and beverage credit, early check-in and late check-out if available, and for suite stays, a private one-way airport transfer.

The Fontenay Hamburg, Germany
When its doors open in summer 2017, the Fontenay Hamburg will be the city's first new luxury hotel in 18 years. Located on the tranquil banks of Lake Alster, the fluid-like exterior mirrors the rippled lines in the water and surrounding parkland. The 131 rooms and suites each have a private balcony, with the majority featuring lake views. The property will also offer a 10,000-square-foot spa with therapeutic and medical treatments as well as cycling and running programs. Virtuoso guests will receive a complimentary upgrade and daily breakfast for two, plus more perks to come.

Park Hyatt St. Kitts, St. Kitts and Nevis
Park Hyatt St. Kitts will open in summer 2017 on Banana Bay, a secluded cove of white-sand beach. Overlooking The Narrows, a strait separating St. Kitts and the volcanic island of Nevis, the hotel will feature 126 rooms, 48 of which are suites with private rooftop pools and sea views. In addition to a trio of dining options, rum bar, 12-room spa and yoga pavilion, the resort will offer day-long Kittitian Journeys, which focus on the island's history, culture and nature. Virtuoso guests will receive an upgrade on arrival if available, a welcome amenity, full breakfast for two daily, a $100 resort credit, complimentary Wi-Fi and early check-in/late check-out if available.

Adare Manor, Ireland
Situated on the banks of the Maigue River and surrounded by medieval ruins, the 19th-century neo-Gothic Adare Manor will unveil an 18-month, multimillion-dollar renovation in September 2017. Architects Reardon Smith, known for their restoration of luxury hotels in London, and leading hospitality interior designer Richmond International will update the manor with modern amenities while preserving its historic past. The transformation will include a refurbished championship golf course and a renovated golf clubhouse as well as a new spa, pool, cinema and ballroom. A bedroom wing will also be added, bringing the room count to 104. Virtuoso guests will receive a complimentary upgrade and daily breakfast for two, plus other benefits.

Each hotel has been thoroughly vetted to ensure it meets with Virtuoso's exacting standards, and invited to participate in the organization's Virtuoso Preview program. As part of Preview, hotels work with Virtuoso and their affiliated advisors during the hotel's crucial preopening phase, taking guidance from the industry's best salesforce while also securing a jumpstart on bookings. In exchange, guests who reserve their stay through a Virtuoso advisor receive exclusive benefits not available through any credit card program or website, delivering tangible value upwards of $450 per stay in the way of spa treatments, rounds of golf and other services and experiences that help define the property.

Americans Avoiding Certain Countries Due to Perceived Global Threats


A new survey by international travel agency network Virtuoso has found travellers are avoiding certain worldwide destinations as a result of the uncertainty tied to specific countries and global regions. Virtuoso was one of the first travel organisations to introduce the term VUCA, which stands for volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous, as a means of describing the potential travel disruptions caused by geopolitical situations.

"The world is going through a transition where uncertainty is the new norm," says Matthew D. Upchurch, Chairman and CEO of Virtuoso. "Whether it's Brexit, the shifting political climate in the U.S., or the threat of terrorism or disease such as Zika, there seems to be only two certainties. First, we have no idea what we might wake up to find tomorrow because change happens fast. Two, and this is of utmost importance, travel is the best way to bring people together when isolation begins. At Virtuoso, we say borders divide, but travel unites. Never has it been more important to keep the ability to travel as a fundamental right."

Among the questions asked, Virtuoso surveyed its travel advisors globally to discover the impact of the Presidential Executive Order disallowing travelers from seven countries to enter the U.S. Although the order is not currently in effect, Virtuoso advisors report that it is still impacting clients' travel decisions. Among U.S.-based advisors, 10 percent say clients are changing travel plans due to a concern over anti-American sentiment. However, a much higher 40 percent say their clients are now avoiding certain destinations due to concerns over terrorism, including the Middle East, Europe and Africa, with Turkey and Egypt topping the list of countries. Instead, Americans are choosing to travel within their own country, as well as visit those perceived as safer, including Japan, Canada and New Zealand.

Forty-two percent of Virtuoso-affiliated travel advisors outside of the U.S. say their clients are avoiding travel to the United States due to factors including opposition to the country's foreign policy and concerns over obtaining visas. As an alternative, they are electing to travel to destinations such as Italy, Australia and the U.K. The majority of advisors anticipate the slowdown in travel to the U.S. will last three to six months.

Switzerland Introduces First Climate-Neutral Ship

Switzerland has upped the ante on its water transportation services with the
introduction of its very first climate neutral ship, the MS 2017, which will
enter the public service on Lake Lucerne in May.

The ship will be the country's second eco-friendly vessel, following the
2016 launch of the restored Vedetta 1908 on Lake Lugano, which runs on solar
and electric power.

Scheduled to be christened on 4 May 2017, the sleek, modern and luxurious
MS 2017 sets a milestone in the Swiss shipping scene in terms of quality and

With a surface area of 1400 sqm sprawling across five decks, passengers will
enjoy many of the ships features, including the Panorama Deck, Compass
Lounge and Bar on the sun deck, the Nautilus Cabin in the fuselage with
underwater views, and the Aqua Terrace with a sea water foot bath in the

Even though the MS 2017 will be serving the public on Lake Lucerne, it can
be booked for exclusive functions, allowing up to 400 seats for banquet
styled events.

For more information on the MS 2017Lake Lucerne
and the city of Lucerne, visit

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Silversea reveals Silver Muse’s Balsorano Owner’s Suite

The new flagship's premier suite has been designed in conjunction with Chairman, Manfredi Lefebvre d'Ovidio


Ultra-luxury cruise line Silversea, has revealed details of Silver Muse's Balsorano Owner's Suite, a unique space which reflects the taste and Italian tradition of Silversea chairman, Manfredi Lefebvre d'Ovidio.

Named Balsorano, the suite draws inspiration from the chairman's full name, Manfredi Lefebvre d'Ovidio di Balsorano de Clunieres. Balsorano is also a castle in Italy.

At more than 1000 square feet in size, the Balsorano Suite contains a specially curated selection of Mr Lefebvre's personal items including books, sculptures, works of art and family photographs. Among the items chosen are a chesterfield chair and ottoman, an additional chair from Mr. Lefebvre's former family residence in Rome, and photos of Mr. Antonio Lefebvre, Mr. Lefebvre's father and mentor.

The bookshelf in the Balsorano Suite is adorned with Mr. Lefebvre's favourite titles, including: The Great Navigators of the Eighteenth Century by Jules Verne; The Great Sea: A Human History of the Mediterranean by David Abulafia; and After the Victorians: The World Our Parents Knew by A.N. Wilson.

The Balsorano Suite will also be stocked with vintage port, each variety having been specially selected by Mr. Lefebvre himself.

Manfredi Lefebvre d'Ovidio, Silversea Chairman, said: "I am incredibly proud to present the Balsorano Suite, a space which superbly encapsulates my family's Italian heritage and taste. I hope that guests will, like me, find the Balsorano Suite a spectacular home away from home aboard Silver Muse."

Barbara Muckermann, Chief Marketing Officer at Silversea Cruises, said: "Owned and operated by one family – the Lefebvres of Rome – Italian tradition is firmly ingrained in the Silversea brand. As is reflected across the entire ship, much passion and pride has gone into the creation of the Balsorano Suite, the most luxurious suite on Silver Muse."

Calling at 34 countries and 130 ports in 2017 alone, Silver Muse will redefine ocean travel, enhancing the small-ship intimacy with spacious all-suite accommodations that are the hallmarks of the Silversea experience. The addition of Silver Muse, will expand Silversea's fleet to nine ships and will once again significantly raise the bar in the ultra-luxury cruise market.

For more information contact your travel professional or Silversea Cruises on +61 2 9255 0600 or 1300 306 872 (Australia) or 0800 701 427 (New Zealand), or visit

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Marriott Hotels opens Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay

Marriott Hotels, Marriott International's flagship brand, celebrates the opening of its first hotel in Fiji, as Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay welcomes guests to an unspoiled corner of this South Pacific island paradise.

Nestled on the secluded beaches of Momi Bay on the western coast of Viti Levu, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay is an exotic destination defined by its idyllic natural surroundings.

"We are delighted to announce the opening of the first property under the Marriott Hotels brand in Fiji," said Silvano Dressino, General Manager of Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay. "The resort is located in a beautiful, untouched area of Fiji, making it the ideal spot for families and friends to explore."

“We want our guests to experience aesthetically pleasing spaces that help foster their inventive nature,” said Matthew Carroll, Vice President, Marriott Hotels. “Marriott Hotels has consistently pushed to create experiences that inspire our guests' creativity, and where else is more inspirational than an overwater villa in Fiji.”

Thoughtfully designed to take full advantage of the picture-perfect setting, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay is the only property on Fiji's mainland to offer overwater villas. Surrounded by 20 hectares of crystal-clear, man-made lagoons, guests enjoy direct access to a private white-sand beach. The resort features 114 Bure Villas, including 22 over-water Bure Villas with decks from which guests can dive directly into the turquoise waters. The inventive design extends to the 136 Deluxe Rooms, which can be interconnected, making them ideal for families and groups. Embracing the surrounding nature, the open-plan spaces make the most of the refreshing sea breeze and natural sunlight. The dynamic interiors reflect the vibrant local culture with motifs, colours and materials inspired by Fijian design and updated with a modern twist.

“The resort embodies Marriott Hotels' 'Travel Brilliantly' ethos, with its contemporary Fijian-inspired design and natural offerings bringing to life the ultimate resort experience,” said Mike Fulkerson, Vice President, Brand and Marketing Asia Pacific.

The resort is situated a convenient 45-minute drive from Nadi International Airport, and within easy reach of Nadi Town (29km), Denarau Island (36km) and other enticing attractions. Adventure-seekers can enjoy a short boat ride to Cloud Break Surf to experience some of the world's most impressive waves, go zip-lining or explore the Sebeto hot springs and rejuvenate in the mineral-rich mud baths.

Guests can choose from three restaurants which offer distinctive local and international cuisines. Complemented with Marriott's thoughtful service, each venue provides a dynamic dining experience. At Goji Kitchen & Bar, guests can engage with chefs and savour the inventive Fijian, Asian and international dishes made to order at the open-kitchen cooking stations, or enjoy a bounty of fresh seafood at Fish Bar, overlooking panoramas of the Pacific Ocean. For those looking for a more casual or relaxed setting, Lagoon House & Bar offers simple yet delicious Mediterranean fare made of the highest quality produce. Fiji Baking Company, the resort's bakery and delicatessen, offers freshly made pastries, sandwiches and salads as well as barista-style coffee in a relaxed café setting.

For inspirational weddings, special events, conferences and meetings, the Grand Salon Ballroom offers 360 square metres of versatile event space with an abundance of natural lighting. Guests can take advantage of the resort's beachfront location and 1,200 square metres of outdoor pre-function space by extending their event outside. Designed with flexibility in mind, the multipurpose venues feature the latest technology, access to gourmet catering and expert event planning services.

Committed to guests' total wellness, the resort's Health Club offers a range of onsite activities such as kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding and tennis. The resort is also in close proximity to two golf courses: Natadola Golf Course (34km) and Danarau Golf & Racquet Club (36km). For families, the Turtles Kids' Club provides interactive programs to entertain young guests. Meanwhile, adults can rebalance with a signature treatment at the serene Quan Spa to align the body and mind and restore clarity. There are also three large pools and a whirlpool surrounded by stylish cabanas and loungers, including an adult's only infinity pool and a swim-up bar where guests can enjoy a cocktail and light bite while taking in the views.

Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay is a hidden gem that ensures that every guest has an inspiring getaway, while discovering an unchartered corner of this exciting tropical destination.

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'Handy’ Smartphone Keeps Business Travellers Connected at Anantara Siam Bangkok

Anantara Siam Bangkok Hotel understands the needs of business travellers looking to stay connected abroad. That's why it offers all guests a complimentary in-room smartphone aptly named, "handy".

Without necessity to take a SIM card, it provides you with a  personal number to receive calls or place them to Thailand and 10 international countries for free. Prefer texting? It also offers unlimited 4G access or can be used as a hotspot should you be tethered to your personal smartphone.

Best of all, group organisers can keep their clients updated with amendments to an itinerary or special arrangements for select attendees through push notifications. Anantara Siam Hotel is located in the heart of Bangkok and offers discerning business travellers, incentive groups and global meetings the perfect downtown escape in the centre of the world's most visited city. handy is offered in every guest room at Anantara Siam, and is the only hotel in city centre to offer such a service complimentary.

Pictured: 'handy' smartphones are offered in every guest room with the compliments of Anantara Siam


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

UTracks welcomes landmark tourism deal

News of an historic tourism deal being signed over the weekend between Paris and London, has been welcomed by the team at UTracks, Australia's leading active European holiday specialist.

UTracks have been promoting experiences that link both sides of the English Channel for some years now.

Tackling Brexit head on, London and Paris have signed an historic deal, in which the two cities will be jointly promoted to attract more overseas visitors.

It marks the first time the two cities have cooperated to promote tourism and comes as UK begins the formal process of withdrawing from the European Union (EU).

The Expeditionist

The Expeditionist
Venturing to the world's special places